Eglin Air Force Base fills 724 square miles of land across Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties; and 123,000 square miles of water space of the Eglin Gulf Test and Training Range, which extends south of the Florida Keys. Eglin's charted airspace is above the land that is Eglin AFB and extends to the east, south, and to the north into Alabama. The Eglin Airspace is one of the busiest in the nation with military, civil, and general aviation operations over Northwest Florida.

 

Eglin Air Force Base is a national Military asset. Its role in our nation's defense is to support research and development, test and evaluation of conventional weapons and electronic systems. It also supports joint training of worldwide-deployed operational units. The economic benefit of the military presence in Northwest Florida has grown to about $18.8 billion a year, 192,000 jobs, and direct Defense spending of over $6.9 billion each year.

 

The population surrounding Eglin has grown tremendously in the last decade. as our national leaders seek to reduce our military and the federal budget, the ability of our Base to perform its missions efficiently becomes a serious consideration.

 

To protect important military and state assets such as Eglin Air Force Base, the Florida Legislature enacted Florida Statute 163.3175. This law requires local governments to cooperate with military installations to encourage compatible land use, help prevent incompatible encroachment, and facilitate the continued presence of the twenty major military installations in the state.

 

Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties, cities within the three counties, and Eglin Air Force Base formed the Northwest Florida Military Sustainability Partnership to meet this mandate as a region.  The Military Growth Advisory Group of planning and engineering staffs from the participation jurisdictions assists the Executive Committee.  The Partnership exists to support and promote the military presence, and to maintain the viability of our military installations in Northwest Florida.

ISSUES TO UNDERSTAND

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